Below are the headlines found on The Daily Trust Online Newspaper for today,  Monday, 12 March, 2017.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Many federal ministries and agencies lack active websites despite spending billions of naira on information technology last year, Daily Trust investigations have shown.
Two key agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology are absent online. One of them is the National Space Research Development Agency (NASDRA), which is responsible for Nigeria’s space programme and policy development of space science and technology.

Another key agency absent online is the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI). A part of its mandate is to synergise with other related agencies to commercialize Nigeria’s indigenous products in the areas of technology and business management.
Similarly, the website of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) is rarely updated. When Daily Trust reporter visited it last night, the former Director General of the agency, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, whose tenure ended about two months ago, was still displayed on the website, as the DG.
Even the link to the press release that announced the appointment of Mr Abayomi Oguntade as acting DG on January 28, 2018, was not found on the website.
Almost all the menus on the website were either not active or found, or outrightly blank. Of the 10 menus on the website, only that of the ‘Office of the DG’ was active. 
Even at that, of the six sub-menus under it, only the  one with the DG’s profile was active. All the remaining ones were blank.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development website is active only half way as most of the sections are blank.
President Muhammadu Buhari administration is giving priority to agriculture, but there is very scant information regarding that on the website when our reporter checked last night.
Though there was provision for agencies, research institutes and colleges in the website, only the link to agencies display the agencies under the ministry. 
Even then only about three of the agencies have an active link that will take you to their websites. The hyperlink for research institutes and colleges was blank when Daily Trust visited last night.
The value chain sub-sectors were also not updated, apart from the names of the items displayed. The addresses of the ministry’s state offices were also not available. The last press release posted on the ministry’s website was dated January 26, 2018. 
The website of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) is also displaying outdated and wrong information. For instance, under ‘Special Advisers’ only two names were displayed even though there are dozens of them, as of last night.
The displayed information was also wrong. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, was addressed on the SGF’s website as special adviser on ‘new media’ to the president.
Though N65 million was spent on the website last year, according to the SGF Boss Mustapha, the last news item posted on the website was in October last year.
Most of the other ministries that have websites rarely update them.
Only last week, the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) disclosed that over 70 percent of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria have no websites.
The agency said less than 25 percent of them have functional telephone numbers and e-mail. The acting Director General of the bureau, Mr Dasuki Arabi, said this during the first edition of BPSR Lunch Time Reform Seminar in Abuja.
He spoke at an event themed: “Using ICT within the Public Service in the Ease of Doing Business to Enhance Public Access to Information.” 
Arabi said there is a huge gap and constraints to doing business in Nigeria as many institutions of government have no avenue to disseminate needed information by business operators.
“This shortcoming has not only created a huge gap and constraint to doing business in Nigeria but is also responsible for the country being ranked number 169 out of the 190 economies in the world. 
´In line with global best practices, institutional websites provide the means through which relevant information for starting business process could be obtained,” he said.
“It is also requisite where information concerning the activities of government organisation could easily be accessed. It is noteworthy to inform you that the federal government has adopted the scorecard in a letter dated 10 December 2017 which would serve as peer review mechanism among the MDAs to boost compliance to standards for government website and improve operationalization of the Executive Order E001 on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria,” he said
An analysis of the 2017 budget shows that N20 billion has been spent by federal ministries and agencies on information technology services and consultancy.
The budget breakdown shows that the funds were meant for setting up data banks, e-governance, simplifying information dissemination, as well as digitizing work in the agencies.
The allocations were listed under sub-headings for internet access charges, information technology consulting, satellite broadcasting access charges, computer software acquisition, information technology training, reforms communication, and purchase of computers.
Despite these spending, processes of information dissemination by government ministries remain antiquated and slow.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Parents of the still missing schoolgirls from Chibok town in Borno state are set to begin their journey tomorrow morning to Dapchi town to express amity with parents of the 110 schoolgirls abducted by insurgents last month.
Our correspondent who was in Chibok at the weekend, gathered that the visit was essentially to sympathise with parents of the recently abducted schoolgirls from Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi.

Mr. Yakubu Nkeki and Mrs. Yana Galang, Chairman and Woman Leader of the Abducted Chibok Girls Parents’ Movement for Rescue, would tomorrow lead 30 parents of mostly yet to be found Chibok girls to visit Dapchi where they would share experiences.
“Our chairman has already communicated to the Chairman of the abducted Dapchi girls’ parents and chairman of the Bursari Local Government Council, notifying them of our sympathy visit to Dapchi town on 13th March,” Mrs. Galang said. 
She said they would go there, sit, listen and talk to one another about managing situations as traumatized parents whose daughters were still in Boko Haram’s hands. 
He said some parents of freed Chibok girls would be in the delegation to strengthen the faith and raise the hope of the Dapchi parents that their daughters would one day return home safely.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Senate yesterday confirmed the disclosure by Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna) that each senator receives N13.5m monthly as running cost.
This is a confirmation of a Daily Trust investigative report on the running cost of the Federal lawmakers. Headlined, “Senators, Reps share N46bn annually as running cost”, the Daily Trust report was published on October 10, 2016.  The report was based on the running cost of the 469 lawmakers at both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Senate spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) in a statement, tagged: “Senators’ Salary: Shehu Sani said nothing new” said salaries and allowances of senators are well captured in various line times.
Sani in an interview with the News Magazine said he and his colleagues receive N13.5m monthly as running cost.
“But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.00.
“The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you.
“You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you,” he said.
The Senate spokesman said the figures about running cost were contained in the budget of the National Assembly, which has been made public.
He dismissed insinuations that Sani’s colleagues were unhappy with him and said if people had looked critically at the budget of the National Assembly, which has since been made public, they would have seen that various line items like travelling, medicals, consultancy and the rest were captured in the budget and they were the funds divided for each senator’s use.
“Almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices and that cannot be said to be part of their salaries”, Abdullahi said.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco will soon go up as the federal government announced new excise duty for the products with effect from Monday, June 4, 2018.
The new rates approved by President Muhammadu Buhari have also granted a grace period of 90 days (three months) to all manufacturers before the commencement of the new excise duty regime.

There is however no increase in excise duty of other locally excisable products.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who made this known on Sunday in Abuja, stated that the new excise duty rates were spread over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020 in order to moderate the impact on prices of the products.
The Minister disclosed that the new excise duty regimes followed all-inclusive stakeholder engagements by the Tariff Technical Committee of the Federal Ministry of Finance with key industry stakeholders.
According to her, the upward review of the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco was to achieve a dual benefit of raising the Government’s fiscal revenues and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.
She said, “The Tariff Technical Committee (TCC) recommended the slight adjustment in the excise duty charges after cautious considerations of the Government’s Fiscal Policy Measures for 2018 and the reports of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Technical Assistance Mission on Nigeria’s Fiscal Policy.
“The effect of the excise duty rates adjustment on trade and investment was also assessed by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and it adopted the recommendations of the TTC. 
“Furthermore, peer country comparisons were also carried out showing Nigeria as being behind the curve in the review of excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.”
Following the President’s approval, Adeosun disclosed that the new excise duty rate on tobacco was now a combination of the existing ad-valorem base rate and specific rate while the ad-valorem rate was replaced with a specific rate for alcoholic beverages.
The Minister added, “For Alcoholic Beverages, the current ad-valorem rate will be replaced with specific rates and spread over three years to moderate the impact on prices. This will curb the discretion in the Unit Cost Analysis (UCA) for determining the ad-valorem rate and prevent revenue leakages. 
“For Tobacco, the Government will maintain the current ad-valorem rate of 20 per cent and introduce additional specific rates with the implementation to be spread over a three-year period to also reasonably reduce the impact on prices.”
Under the newly approved excise duty rates for tobacco in addition to the 20 per cent ad-valorem rate, each stick of cigarette will attract a N1 specific rate per stick (N20 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2018, N2 specific rate per stick (N40 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2019 and N2.90k specific rate per stick (N58 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2020.
The Minister explained that Nigeria’s cumulative specific excise duty rate for tobacco was 23.2 per cent of the price of the most sold brand, as against 38.14 per cent in Algeria, 36.52 per cent in South Africa and 30 per cent in Gambia.
The new specific excise duty rate for alcoholic beverages cuts across Beer & Stout, Wines and Spirits for the three years 2018 to 2020.
Under the new regime, Beer & Stout would attract N0.30k per centiliter (Cl) in 2018 and N0.35k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020.
Wines would attract N1.25k per Cl in 2018 and N1.50k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020, while N1.50k per Cl was approved for Spirits in 2018, N1.75k per Cl in 2019 and N2.00k per Cl in 2020.
The Minister added that the new excise duty regimes are in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directive on the harmonisation of member-states’ legislations on excise duties.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Donald Campaign Organisation has appointed Alhaji Adams Aikoye as its coordinator in Kogi State. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Few hours after the death of Abubakar Saleh Michika, the first civilian governor of Adamawa State, his family have accused the state government of abandoning him. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Sunday, urged youths to get registered, collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and participate actively in the nations electoral process.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The chairman of Gwagwalada area council, Alhaji Adamu Mustapha, said his administration is focused on completing ongoing capital projects in the area before the end of his tenure. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Just Foundation, an NGO of Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society, on Sunday in Abuja urged adherents of Islam to lead the fight against corruption in the country through advocacy and sensitisation. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Abuja Metropolitan Management Council AMMC has warned plot owners to develop them or face revocation by the authorities. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Gwagwa Ward of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Murtala Mohammed Haruna, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has said the FCT Administration will rehabilitate and upgrade the Ushafa Pottery Centre to a skills acquisition and empowerment centre for women to gift them with entrepreneurship development skills. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The remains of Aliyu Akwe-Doma, former Governor of Nasarawa State, on Saturday arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 11:15 p. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
It was wailing and lamentation on Friday at the popular Mgbemene Market in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State as a young housewife cried uncontrollably over the disappearance of her essential commodities valued N67,000 alongside the wheelbarrow pusher entrusted with the items.

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Business owners under the auspices of the organized private sector (OPS) has described both the executives and legislatures in Lagos State as callous, insensitive and inconsiderate to the survival of businesses in the state. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Financial experts at the FSDH Research have called on the economic managers of the country to take a cursory look at the two months consecutive decline in the Purchasing Managers Index for January and February which indicates raising uncertainties so as to nip the issues in the bud. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco will soon go up as the federal government announced new excise duty for the products with effect from Monday, June 4, 2018. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
There were 26,182 cases of fraud and forgeries recorded in the banks in 2017 which is 56. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has called on the newly inaugurated board members to reposition the agencies entrusted to them and ensure they achieve their mandates. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said there are signs that Nigeria is already onward march towards a new dawn in science. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology [NILEST] has said it has the capacity to produce about 360million pairs of male and female shoes which can fetch the country about N1. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The Projects Development Institute [PRODA] has said its agro machineries produced at the institute arent in the market yet because it has yet to get investors to commercialise them. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion [NOTAP] has called on Nigerian innovators and inventors to protect their intellectual properties by applying for patents at the agency. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Manchester Citys top brass have reportedly given Pep Guardiola the green light to complete a stunning transfer deal this summer. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Tertiary institutions in the country have embraced the forthcoming Higher Institution Football League billed to start in July. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Serena Williams will play her sister Venus in the third round at Indian Wells as she continues her comeback after the birth of her child. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
A former Nigeria international Vincent Enyeama escaped being attacked by Lille supporters in the wake of their 1-1 draw with Montpellier in the French Ligue 1 on Saturday evening. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Lille fans ran on to the pitch and attacked their own players during Saturdays 1-1 draw with Montpellier. 

Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Arsenal ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats as they secured a fine victory over Watford. 

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